"This is already the 17th month of the coronavirus pandemic, and none of us could have predicted what we've had to endure. The economy is off-kilter. The pandemic has affected us all", says Christoph Gröblinghoff, Chairman of the AGCO/Fendt Management Board, describing the difficult situation faced by international supply chains.
Current situation at Fendt
So far, Fendt has been able to respond well to these ever-changing challenges and has made up for missed production days. "We are overcoming this crisis, thanks to our good relations with upstream suppliers and the high process capability that we have here at our German sites. Fendt has a strong team behind it, spearheaded by our sales partners and workshop employees – I am very proud of what we have achieved together", Gröblinghoff is quick to emphasise, but it comes with a warning: "Let's not kid ourselves, the situation will remain at least as tense for the rest of this year."
The Fendt boss is especially pleased about the rising vaccination rates worldwide and within his own company. Fendt is currently vaccinating at the Marktoberdorf, Asbach-Bäumenheim, Feucht and Wolfenbüttel sites. "Our occupational health management team is making outstanding progress", says Gröblinghoff.
Overall, the Chairman of the Management Board has a positive view of the current situation at Fendt and in agriculture; "The industry is healthy, the order books are full. We are very grateful for that. Farmers are more important than ever in such adverse times. They are the ones who put the food on the table."
CEMA Business-Barometer shows positive developments
From a low point in April 2020, the industry has continuously recovered until reaching today's peak phase. "We can confirm that our industry is not fundamentally affected by the impact. Three quarters of those surveyed rate their current situation as very positive and expect sales to rise. The boom is not showing any signs of waning.
And it's no wonder, with commodity prices for wheat and oilseeds higher than ever before, and farmers making good money. This leads to a high level of readiness to invest, which will result in a market growth of around 7% throughout Europe."
Fendt increases its market shares in Europe
"With demand on Europe's tractor markets rising sharply, we expect to sell 188,000 tractors this year", says Gröblinghoff. This brings the market almost back to 2012 levels, which was a record year on the European tractor market. For 2021, he expects an upturn in Europe's tractor market (excluding Turkey), "We have secured a high market share of more than 10% in Europe." The global sales market for Fendt tractors is again up on the previous year, with over 20,000 tractors expected to be produced this year.
Around 6,300 Fendt employees
As at mid-2021, Fendt employs around 6,300 people across all six sites in Germany (Marktoberdorf, Asbach-Bäumenheim, Waldstetten, Feucht, Hohenmölsen and Wolfenbüttel). That's more than 300 up on the same period a year ago. More than 4,000 people work at the headquarters in Marktoberdorf alone.
Research & Development's focus on digital products
"Innovative technology is our core competence. We employ a total of around 500 engineers who deal with both the agricultural machinery itself as well as digitisation", says the Fendt CEO.
In April 2021, the new development building in Marktoberdorf was opened, hosting around 140 new jobs in the fields of electronics, software and digitisation. "This team is working on the digital future of farming."
Fendt can look back on a very successful 2020 despite the circumstances. "Our success is also highly valued within the Group. The global growth of the Fendt brand is one of the most important initiatives at AGCO. We are the growth brand within the Group. Fendt Global Growth is possible because we offer machines that are in demand worldwide, but also on our European markets. In doing so, we are laying the foundation for the future."
The Fendt brand and Fendt products are increasingly establishing themselves in North America, Brazil, South Africa as well as Australia and New Zealand. Fendt is gaining new customers in the large tractor segment in North America and Brazil. The Fendt IDEAL large combine harvester and the Fendt MOMENTUM precision planter are also winning new custom.
"Feedback from customers in the North American market shows exceptional performance in terms of fuel economy, grain quality and capacity compared to the competition. The Fendt MOMENTUM has also successfully completed its first planting season in North America", Gröblinghoff reports. The large combine harvester was successfully introduced in South Africa this year.
In Australia and New Zealand, new orders for large tractors rose significantly in 2020. But there's also positive growth surrounding green harvesting solutions, such as Fendt round balers, where "our teams achieved an 80% increase in orders compared to the previous year."
FendtONE is the answer to overcoming farming challenges
"FendtONE is our answer to the latest farming challenges", says Gröblinghoff. FendtONE provides an exact knowledge and overview of the operating figures on the one hand, and a simple introduction to reporting on the other. "Central, digital data collection will be the basic prerequisite for Farm2Fork; compliance with Green Deal guidelines and the traceability of production chains.
FendtONE is one of our answers to sustainable farming. Agriculture must become more transparent for today's society and its desire to know more about the production of food.
Many consumers want to have all the facts so they can make informed purchasing decisions.
Sustainable farming is both a burden and an opportunity, because there's huge potential there for greater profitability and efficiency", explains the Fendt CEO.
The almost complete transformation of farming
"We are part of a major digital revolution, playing a significant role in shaping this movement. We are aware of this responsibility – and we welcome it", Gröblinghoff says about the ongoing alternative drive technology project.
As a project partner of Fraunhofer ISE, Fendt is using the Fendt e100 Vario to trial a holistic approach in the use of agrivoltaics. The pilot scheme includes taking the generated electricity to run the battery-powered/electric tractor used in fruit cultivation. Fendt is also a partner of the joint project "H2Agrar" – funded by the German state of Lower Saxony – which aims to develop a hydrogen infrastructure with a focus on agriculture.